The Caribbean is known globally as a tourist haven and arguably one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Its islands are packed with glorious sandy beaches, paradise walks, stunning flora and of course the region is blessed with year-round sunshine. And besides all of that natural beauty, the Caribbean is a region infused with culture and history. All this richness and colour is reflected in their cuisine with Caribbean food being a savoury and delicious mix of European, African and Cajun influences.
Here are some popular Caribbean dishes….
Seafood – Flying Fish and Cou Cou
Seafood is a Caribbean specialty, which is not surprising given its close relationship with the sea. Whether it’s fish or shellfish – seafood dishes are really popular and Barbados’s very own Flying Fish and Cou Cou is absolutely delicious.
Cou Cou is quite comparable to Polenta; cornmeal and okra are mixed with water and local spices to create a mash type paste. The flying fish is then steamed with light seasoning. The Barbadians or ‘Bajans’ are naturally very proud of this dish.
A classic Jamaican dish, Jerk is one of the most well-known Caribbean food dishes. Jerk refers to a very spicy dry or wet rub typically applied to chicken – although it can also be used on other meats too. After absorbing the flavours, the meat is grilled and/or smoked to sizzling perfection. There are many different types of Jerk that are influenced by a variety of regions, including Portuguese, African and Latin American flavours.
Stewed and simmered in enormous pots throughout the Caribbean, this thick and rich stew can include okra, potatoes, aubergine, squash and many other ingredients that are, cultivated in the island’s rich soil. While Beef is the most common meat- you can also try fungi (delicious cornmeal dumplings) which give the dish a great texture. As there is great scope for using local ingredients and including whatever is to hand, it’s rare that you will find identical batches or even recipes.
With the main ingredient consisting of indigenous leaf vegetables (usually either amaranth, taro or Xanthoma) Callaloo is associated strongly with Trinidad and Tobago and it’s another meal you must try, to get a sense of Caribbean cuisine. Typically boiled into a thick stew, it may include peppers, okra, coconut milk along with different types of seafood and meat. Again, there are many different variants across the region – with the availability of local leaf vegetables being a determining factor in regional recipes.
Native to the Bahamas, conch is essentially the typical name used for medium to large sized shells that come from many different types of snails. The meat of conch can be consumed raw, in salads or alternatively cooked in burgers, soups and stews. The meat itself can also make for a delicious fritter.
Overall, there are plenty of options to create your own authentic Caribbean collection of menus and the ingredients are now relatively easy to come by, which means consumers are taking more of an interest in Caribbean cuisine. If you are considering introducing some exciting new Caribbean food to your range – get in touch with the Culinary Food Group team and we can we work together to find commercially successful solutions for your business.